by Robert Siciliano

Military Members Face Identity Theft Threat

Jan 20, 2011

Service men and women face an elevated level of identity theft due to the ubiquitous use of the Social Security number (SSN) both here and abroad.

Military personnel use their SSNs for a variety of reasons every day from everything including on various forms, IDs, access to facilities, and in Iraq they have it painted on their laundry bags.

A report published in the New York Times says “Service members and their families are burdened with a work environment that shows little regard for their personal information,” the report says, adding that the service members, “their units, military preparedness and combat effectiveness all will pay a price for decades to come.”

For the past 70 years, the Social Security number has become our de facto national ID. The numbers were first issued in the 1930s to track income for Social Security benefits. But functionality creep, which occurs when an item, process, or procedure ends up serving a purpose that it was never intended to perform, soon took effect.

Here we are, decades later, and the Social Security number has become the key to the kingdom. You’re forced to disclose your Social Security number regularly, and it appears in hundreds or even thousands of files, records, and databases, accessible to an untold number of people.

“Children of military personnel as young as 10 carry ID cards with Social Security numbers, as do their parents.”

Identity theft can happen to anyone. McAfee Identity Protection offers proactive identity surveillance, lost wallet protection, and alerts when suspicious activity is detected on your accounts. McAfee Identity Protection puts victims first and provides live access to fraud resolution agents who work with the victim to help restore their identity. For additional tips, please visit

Robert Siciliano is aMcAfee Consultant and Identity Theft Expert. See him discussing Social Security Numbers as National IDs on Fox News. (Disclosures)